With the introduction of the “Creating Pathways to Success” document in 2013, the Ontario Ministry of Education mandated that students in Ontario schools be given the opportunity to create and manage their own portfolio. Students from kindergarten to grade six will have the opportunity to create an “All About Me” portfolio and students from grade seven to twelve will create an “Individual Pathways Plan.”
The goal of the program is to engage students in an inquiry process that focuses on career and life planning. Students will add items and artifacts to their portfolios that help them learn about themselves and their future. The four main areas of inquiry that students will focus on include:
1. Who Am I?
2. What are my opportunities?
3. Who do I want to become?
4. What is my plan for achieving my goals?
Students can put photos, videos, reflections, questions, etc. into their portfolios in order to better prepare them for their future learning, careers, and lives. Teachers are to give students every opportunity to add artifacts to their portfolios and will review each student’s portfolio with him/her at least twice per year.
Where do the artifacts come from? Well, they can come from anywhere. The items/artifacts that the student puts into his/her portfolio can come from the classroom, extra-curricular activities, or even the community at large. As a parent, this is where I find I can engage more in my sons’ learning. Although I love reading, phonics and practicing mathematics with my older son, I really love talking with him about his future – and creating artifacts with him to put into his portfolio. I love to play with my sons and by helping him create and manage his portfolio, I get to play with a lot of new technologies and ideas, but I also get to connect with my son and learn more about him than I ever have.
The Ministry of Education has also made it easier to create and manage the students’ portfolios by adding an application to the provincial VLE (Virtual Learning Environment). All Ontario students now have access to the ePortfolio application with the provincial VLE called Desire2Learn. Therefore, students (and parents) can access their ePortfolios at any time and from anywhere.
The DCDSB has enabled the application in its VLE and all students from K-12 can access both ePortfolio and Career Cruising (for the Individual Pathways Plan). This makes it easy for DCDSB students to create and manage their very own portfolio.
So what do I do with my older son (who is in kindergarten)? Below are some of the things that I’ve done.
- While painting one of his construction digger toys and he said, “I want to be an archee-archeologist,” I take that audio or video and add it to his ePortfolio.
- He wants to be a mechanic, so when I take my car in, I take my son too. He helps to oil the doors and fill the tires up with air and I snap a picture and ask him to tell me about why he wants to be a mechanic and I add that to ePortfolio
- I create chatterpix and sock puppets of him talking about his likes/dislikes, his future, what his strengths are, and who he wants to become.
- I have him paint a personal flag (from quivervision.com) and animate it with his voiceover.
If you want to engage in your child’s learning portfolio and your child attends a DCDSB school, getting access to his/her portfolio is quite easy.
- Go to the school board website at: http://www.dcdsb.ca
- Hover over the “Students” menu.
- Click on “Launchpad Learning Portal”.
- Login using your child’s board email address and their school computer password.
- Click on the “ePortfolio” link in the top right quadrant of the screen.
- Once inside the ePortfolio application, click on “Explore” to see any items that your child’s teacher may have helped him/her add to the portfolio.
- Click on “My Items” to add your own items and artifacts to your child’s ePortfolio.
The portfolio belongs to your child and will stay with him/her until the end of high school. How cool will it be for them to look back in grade 12 and see all the neat things that you and he/she added to help promote a bright, guided, and successful future.
Note: Parents – you do not need to add your items to a student collection. You are already logged in as your child (the student).